Jacksonville Jaguars must pass on DL Jalen Carter if he tumbles in 2023 NFL Draft

Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter (88). Joshua L. Jones/USA Today Network
Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter (88). Joshua L. Jones/USA Today Network / Joshua L. Jones / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Jacksonville Jaguars endured a six-game losing streak before they turned the corner and made a strong push late in the 2022 regular season. During their rough stretch, it seemed like they were going to have a top 10 pick in this year's NFL Draft, which would have put them in a realistic position to select Georgia defensive end Jalen Carter. However, the Jags eventually turned the corner and finished with the 24th overall pick. While there's a realistic chance Carter will tumble down in the draft, the Jags should avoid him.

Carter was slated to meet with the national media during the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. However, news of his potential involvement in a car accident surfaced just before the press conference started, which forced him to put it off for a later date. The former Georgia Bulldog eventually returned and several scouts state his draft stock might not be affected much despite his potential legal issues due to his immense talent.

Moreover, teams that wanted to see Carter work out at the combine could watch him do drills at Georgia's Pro Day. However, the Florida native showed nine pounds overweight and didn't fare particularly great, which could be a legitimate cause for concern moving forward.

A five-star recruit out of high school, Carter was one of many playmakers on the Bulldog defense last year, registering 32 total tackles, seven tackles for a loss, two forced fumbles, and three sacks. Even though analyst Todd McShay of ESPN had noted that Carter had character concerns, he was projected to be one of the first players taken in the draft. Having said that, Carter hasn't done much to improve his draft stock lately, which could lead to a potential slide in the first round.

The Jacksonville Jaguars must pass on Jalen Carter in the 2023 NFL Draft if available

Although Pro Days and combine are just a couple of the many things scouts take into consideration during the evaluation process, the Jags can't overlook Carter's legal situation and his underwhelming Pro Day. Nobody will deny he can be a game-wrecker but the Jags can't blindly think that he'll turn the switch in the pros.

This isn't to say Carter will be a bust but things aren't looking great for him ahead of the draft. He's got the talent to succeed in the NFL but the Jaguars and any potential suitors need to be careful and weigh in the pros and cons that come with him. The upside is clear but the Jaguars can't run the risk of missing on draft picks, especially when you take into account that they've refrained from making a splash signing in free agency and have instead focused on bringing back their own players. This put additional pressure on general Trent Baalke to come out of the first round with a playmaker.

Despite his potential red flag, there's a strong chance Carter will be long gone by the Jags are on the clock but if he's still available, they should pass on him. Even if he is, Jacksonville will be in a position to take other prospects with fewer potential red flags.

It's true that the Jaguars currently have several difference-makers on the roster and Carter might very well become one in the NFL. However, they can't afford to miss on the draft if they want to get over the hump and make a deep playoff run in 2023.

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